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Health and Safety

The Working Environment

All workplaces must, by law, be safe and healthy and the employer should provide basic facilities for staff and visitors alike. This applies whether you work in a shop, hotel, office or factory.

The following Checklists can be used to check the standard of your workplace.

Hygiene and Welfare

  • Separate clean, ventilated toilets for each sex (for numbers see table below)
  • Wash hand basins with hot and cold (or warm) running water, soap and a means of hand drying
  • Suitable facilities for sanitary dressing disposal.
Number of people at work Number of W.Cs Number of handwash basins Toilet facilities required
if used by a group of workers
1 - 5 1 1  
6 - 25 2 2  
25 - 50 3 3  

Number of men at work Number of W.Cs Number of urinals Toilet facilities required if used by only men
1 - 5 1 1  
6 - 25 2 1  
25 - 50 2 2  
  • Lockers or hanging space for work/home clothing.
  • Waste bins.
  • Areas away from the workplace to take meals and tea breaks i.e. staff room.

Floors and Gangways

  • Kept clean, dry and not slippery (salting and the sweeping of outside routes in icy weather may be necessary).
  • Level even surface (both inside and out).
  • Floors appropriately marked to mark out pedestrian and vehicular areas.
  • Fixed objects, kerbs, etc., clearly highlighted.


  • Internal walls and ceiling washed or painted regularly.
  • Good housekeeping.
  • Premises, furniture and fittings kept clean.


  • Comfortable working temperature of at least 16oC for sedentary occupations e.g. office-based work. 13 oC where physical effort is involved e.g. warehousing.
  • Provision of warm clothing where the work environment is very cold, e.g. cold stores or a non-heated rest room.
  • Good ventilation especially in warm environments.
  • Rest facilities for pregnant women and nursing mothers.
  • Protection against discomfort of tobacco smoke.
  • Protection against high noise levels.


  • Good internal lighting with no glare.
  • Regular cleaning and maintenance of lights and windows.
  • Outside area satisfactorily lit.
  • Local lighting for dangerous processes or where attention to detail is required.


  • Stairways well maintained and fitted with handrails.
  • Transparent doors and window in public areas fitted with safety glass and marked appropriately.
  • No tripping hazards.
  • Heavy items stored appropriately (i.e. on lower shelves).
  • Guarding where there is a risk of people falling from height.


  • Seating provided where staff may have to stand for long periods.
  • Benches, desks, tables at an appropriate height for the user.
  • Adequate space around the work station to allow people to work and move around safely.
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